YWCA York Receives $273,000 Grant to Help Combat Human Trafficking

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YWCA York Receives $273,000 Grant to Help Combat Human Trafficking

Categories: News

York, PA – (July 23, 2019) YWCA York has received notice of funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) through the Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) to continue delivering comprehensive services to adult and juvenile victims of sex trafficking and their children, and to juveniles aged 12-18 who are vulnerable to being trafficked . The new grant will provide funding through 2021 for two full-time positions to provide support and appropriate services to victims of human trafficking. The staff will also provide education and training to raise awareness of human trafficking in York County, and will collaborate with law enforcement, medical professionals, and social and legal service providers to coordinate services. All of the services and programs will be provided at no cost to individuals or organizations.

“We want the community to know that human trafficking is happening in our midst and that YWCA York is working with victims,” says Heather Seton, the Chief Services Officer for the agency. “You won’t see or hear about YWCA York when these cases hit the news. It imperative that we maintain absolute confidentiality to build trust with those we serve.”

YWCA York is not new to this work. The agency began the Human Trafficking Task Force in 2010 and has been providing direct services to victims of human trafficking since 2015.  The new funding stream will allow this work to continue with a renewed emphasis on collaboration.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape supports YWCA York in providing these services. “It is a harsh reality to realize that people are being trafficked for sex across Pennsylvania,” said Karen Baker, CEO. “Victims need significant support to escape these conditions and recover from those experiences. YWCA York has established programs, services and relationships with other providers throughout York County to help victims get what they need.”

YWCA York will coordinate collaboration among legal, medical and human service providers to help adult and juvenile victims of trafficking and to enable the community better identify and report activities that may indicate sex trafficking is occurring.

YWCA will assist survivors to obtain safe housing, care for medical, mental health and substance use needs, and provide support through legal proceedings if needed. Youth who are at risk of being trafficked due to homelessness, foster care or involvement in the juvenile justice system will be offered support groups at agencies who serve vulnerable youth including the Youth Development Center (YDC), Children’s Home of York (CHOY), and Alternative Rehabilitation Community (ARC).

Human trafficking victims in York County are generally identified by law enforcement entities including the FBI, Homeland Security, and local police agencies, as well as by staff at hospitals. These victims are referred directly to YWCA York. The York County Human Trafficking Task Force also provides referrals for services. The task force is comprised of law enforcement agencies, human and victim service providers, and community members united in their commitment to helping end human trafficking in York.

YWCA York provides assistance to victims such as counseling, support during legal proceedings, identifying and addressing on-going safety concerns, accessing additional human services, transportation and employment assistance and housing.

Furthermore, YWCA York provides free legal support in order for our clients to gain full legal autonomy and protection from their abuser. Pro bono legal services are provided for trafficking victims through The Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation.

YWCA York is committed to helping survivors live safely and independently.

YWCA York is a nonprofit organization with the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. Chartered in 1891, YWCA York has a long and rich history of creating opportunities for women’s growth, leadership and power through a common vision: peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.  Over 28,000 people are served each year through the programs and services offered throughout York County. Worldwide, the YWCA impacts more than 25 million people in over 120 countries. For information about the YWCA York, visit our website, www.ywcayork.org.